Times 23571/cryptic interruptus

Posted on Categories Daily Cryptic
Solving time: 40’ but missing two NW answers

Rather difficult – and I discovered I don’t do all that well under pressure – I have to get out of the house about 20 minutes ago… my brain froze on 1A and 4D. Other than that 5D fell rather late which made for heavy going.


1 GEYSER – ”Common man said to be seeking an upsurge”. Pointed out down below that it’s GEYSER=”geezer”. Would never have occurred to me since I pronounce GEYSER to rhyme with Eliza.
9 ASTRONOMER – (moon’s terra[in])*
10 LEAN – two meanings: ref. David LEAN (of L. of Arabia fame among others).
11 F,LAM,BEAU – LAM for “hit” turns up often. FLAMBEAU is a kind of flaming torch thingy.
13 O.P.A.L. – usually clued as O,PAL so a nice change.
15 T(REE F)ROG – TROG is short for troglodyte.
18 F,EARLESS – good clue with smooth surface and wordplay: I like “can’t be listening!” clueing EARLESS.
19 ERNE – “bottles” is our (post-fix) containment indicator: “rathER NEar”.
26 GET-UP-AND-GO – two meanings: one cryptic (no breakfast).
27 N,AZ,ARETH – earth*. A-Z is the canonic London map.
28 PRESTO[n] – ref. Preston North End in Lancashire. And def is “quick to score”, as in, quick musically speaking.


2 EASE,L – def is “rest for artists”, i.e. where they rest their canvases.
4 RINGER – ”Doppelganger’s clanger?”. Also pointed out down below that this is just two meanings. Was on the tip of my tongue when I solved the puzzle but I was being screamed at to get in the car… honest!
5 COME UP TO SCRATCH – Groan. Presumably rabbits when needing to scratch their fleas have to come up out of their burrows.
8 C,LAMP, DOWN – with “light blue” I searched for something Cambridge-related at first.
14 P(HEN,OMEN)A– A case of X wearing Y to indicate Y contains X.
16 FR(EEL)ANCE – Nice surface though not sure how containment is indicated: “has reached”?
22 SALSA – two very different meanings (one as in the dance).
24 NIGH,T – Clever &lit.

10 comments on “Times 23571/cryptic interruptus”

  1. Groan, groan, indeed. Since rabbit warrens can be quite lengthy I very much doubt if rabbits have to seek the open in order to scratch their coats. This was one of those puzzles where I completed all but 4 clues in 20 minutes and then got completely stuck for a long time (1, 3, 11 and 5d). I admired some original clueing.
    1. Both correct. GEYSER was my last answer, preceded by SCRAMBLER at 3D – quite tricky if the muddy version means “rough terrain motorcycle racer”. I thought the rabbits were coming up from a magician’s hat but it makes no odds. 7:05 here. 16D: I think the idea is that if you’ve reached Calais, you’re “in France” – especially if using the Channel Tunnel or the most obvious ferry route on a holiday trip from GB.
  2. 3D and 1A were the last to fall here as well. Despite the obvious homophone, I struggled with 1A and was misled by ‘to be seeking’, which seems a bit contrived (unless I’m missing something!)
    Otherwise an enjoyable puzzle.


  3. I was left with two unsolved clues as well; geyser and Lean – although for the latter I guessed the answer correctly but had never heard of Mr. Lean.
    Regarding freelance, I particularly dislike clues like this, in which the cryptic element is further buried – i.e. ‘reaching Calais’ = ‘in France’ = ‘Fr(…)ance’. There was something similar with ‘hibernated’ = ‘lay up’ = ‘yal’. It just seems a step too far.
  4. “Trace local dropping out of Germany, for one”.

    Answer = RELIC.

    As you didn’t see fit to comment on this one, then I have to assume the explanation is trivial. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing it (apart from RELIC = TRACE).

    Mike O.

    1. At the time I just wrote RELIC in without understanding the clue. Later I realized it was PUB being removed from REPUBLIC. Clever.
  5. Just done this, and spent simply ages (well over 5 mins) on GEYSER, finishing in 15:06 – the sort of thing that scuppers one’s chances in the Championship. Like Al, I was thrown by “to be seeking”, but I suppose it’s the sort of thing one expects these days.
  6. Quite a tricky one but not as tricky as the previous one. A couple of queries above about the omitted “easies”. Here they are in full:

    5a Shorten agreement (8)
    Contract. A double definition (DD)but not a gimme.

    12a Acknowledge church getting power in law (6)
    AC CE P T. Where the Church of England CE gets Power P inside law = ACT.

    21a (ASBO, in)* failing, stunted growth (6)

    23a Is loosely attached item very good? (8)
    RATTLING. Another non-gimme DD.

    25a Mammal: where to find it at length (4)
    SEA L

    3d A muddy muddler? (9)
    SCRAMBLER. Another non-gimme DD that even had some of the literati glitterati above thinking for a few extra seconds. I still remember the Scrambling (think its called Moto-X or something now) on the TV in the 1960s. Muddy indeed.

    6d Team Scottish island sent up for recounts (8)
    NARRA TES. SET and ARRAN upside down. OK with the Isle of ARRAN but SET = TEAM??

    7d Trace local dropping out of Germany, for one (5)
    RE (PUB) LIC. I had BIFD this one but managed to parse it once I saw that it had not been blogged. This was before I opened the comments where Dyste has enlightened Mike O. Quite so.

    17d (Regimen)* ruined, having scoffed posh confection (8)

    20d Come forward to get drink, holding favourite up (4,2)
    STEP UP. Which is PET upside-down inside SUP. Not very good having UP in the clue and the answer.

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